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Too much excitement just might kill me!

How to cut your (boy) toddler’s hair

Oh yes I did! I just became that mum.

Living on a single income drives me to find ways to save money. So when I saw a home haircut kit on sale for the price of a single toddler haircut, I couldn’t help myself.

I’ve shaved Monkey’s head on a couple of occasions before, when his hair was starting to fall out from the chemo, and then when it was starting to grow back and was all different lengths. So I was confident I could at least manage that much, although I didn’t really want his hair to be that short. So the buzz cut was my backup plan. You know, in case I totally cocked up, or Monkey lost his patience halfway through and ended up with a sideways mullet.

Of course, now that I’ve cut Monkey’s hair once, I feel fully qualified to offer some tips! You’re welcome.

1. Be prepared

I Googled up some general instructions – it was something very scientific about angles and tapering (here it is!). I promptly forgot all of it, and just made it up as I went along.  It probably would have helped if I’d read up on it immediately before starting, as opposed to three days previously. Or even printed it out. Long term sleep deprivation has messed with my short term memory – what was I saying?

2. Cut a deal

Anyone with a toddler can tell you that getting them to sit still, particularly when you really need them to, is a shot in the dark. Maybe a lollipop would do the trick (except we choose not to use food as a bribe or a reward, and Monkey hates getting sticky hands) – or perhaps the iPad (we don’t own one, and he would probably drop it anyway). Choose your weapon. Prepare yourself mentally for the possibility of a sideways mullet. Or start at the top – at least then if the kid gets bored halfway through it will look like a regular mullet and you can say you were trying to be cool, Mel Gibson style.

I told Monkey I wanted to give him a haircut, like I do for the dogs, and asked if that would be OK. He said yes,  and agreed to sit on a kitchen stool and watch Play School on the TV while I did it. Thank goodness for the Boxee! What did people do when they had to wait for the shows they wanted to actually be on air?


Initially I thought I’d shave the back and sides on the longest setting, and do the top with scissors, but as I was about to start I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t want his hair that short – I don’t want to be reminded of when he had cancer every time I look at him! So I decided to try to do the whole thing with scissors, to keep more of the length.

3. Go for it!

Then I got stuck in. Toddlers are a scruffy bunch anyway, how much worse could you make it?

Surprisingly Monkey was great, and just sat there the whole time. It took me the whole episode of Play School to do his hair (about 25 minutes) and he was starting to get sick of it by the end, but I think it turned out pretty well for my first try!


It isn’t perfect, and his fringe looks a bit odd unless I put product in it (which I only do occasionally), but overall I’m quite pleased. Also he now looks even more like his Daddy.


I blame the fringe on his having his father’s hairline. It’s a bit bowl-cut-ish without gel at the moment and I’m not entirely sure how to fix it, but whatever.

4. Child labor

Since the child has no money to pay for his haircut, enlist his services as a cleaner and make him work off the debt!

Monkey is obsessed with the vacuum cleaner – in fact I had a hard time convincing him that he should let me have a turn.


5. Bask in your frugal glory

Et voila! A passable haircut. In any case it is no worse than the one he got at the hairdresser last time, where he insisted on repeatedly spraying himself in the face with the squirty bottle! And they say that practice makes perfect, so by the time he’s old enough to care I should know what I’m doing.

I wonder when Hubs will let me do his hair…

Have you ever tried to cut your child’s hair? Great success or epic disaster?


6 comments on “How to cut your (boy) toddler’s hair

  1. larva225
    September 24, 2013

    I recently trimmed up my 7 month old’s hair. He had those longer bits from when he was born which left him looking like a Hasidic Jew in the front while sporting a rat tail in the back. Beyond that, it terrifies me to think of cutting either of my kids’ hair because the will not be still for even a millisecond and I don’t think cutting their hair while sleeping would work so well.
    In short, you’re so brave!!

  2. Mina
    September 24, 2013

    Over here, we’ve had epic disasters. When I managed to cut it symmetrically, it was too long, so the hair was back in his eyes two weeks later. When I cut more, he looked like a little monk. Last time, it was beginning of the summer heat, and the buzz cut seemed like a good idea at the time. Now I cannot wait for his wonderful hair to just grow back on! Gonna check out that link of yours. Good job, you did it wonderfully, and Monkey looks like such a little boy. There almost nothing of baby left anymore. Apparently, whatever was left, it was in the hair. 🙂

    • Mina
      September 24, 2013

      * there IS almost nothing…

  3. glumbunny
    September 25, 2013

    Oh man, how great does he look! I cut Bun Bun’s hair once and Bunlet’s hair once, and they looked so completely awful that I decided to never do it again. Of course, they were pretty tiny at the time, so perhaps I’ll try again some day, using these tips.

  4. pajamamommas
    September 27, 2013

    Wow, I’m way impressed! I haven’t tried cutting Mr Tadpole’s hair. He’s so bad at sitting still and I’m convinced that I’d poke his eye out or something. Maybe one day I’ll get brave and try it out. Monkey looks adorable!

  5. mummyflyingsolo
    November 24, 2013

    You did a great job!!! He looks so grown up with the shorter hair!

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This entry was posted on September 24, 2013 by in baby talk, crunchy hippie.
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